Tasked with saving the United States Postal Service (USPS) from insolvency, Congress is considering a cost-savings measure that may have a significant impact on the apartment industry. As previously reported, this would come in the form of mandated centralized delivery in place of door-to-door delivery for existing and future apartments. While USPS policy already favors centralized mail delivery for new addresses, current efforts leave open the possibility that existing addresses will be required to convert to centralized delivery.
NMHC/NAA is engaged in the debate because of the significant impact changes to delivery methods could have on apartment communities and residents. There are practical implications for apartment operators relative to centralized delivery, including effects on safety and security, construction and maintenance costs, available space and facility design, accessibility and convenience, historic designations and aesthetic style, and weather and geographical landscapes. Further complicating a possible transition are existing USPS regulations that prevent other delivery carriers from accessing USPS mailboxes. This means that apartment communities may be forced to provide two separate delivery spaces: one for USPS and one for other delivery companies, causing duplicative expenses and design challenges.
Congress has been trying to reach agreement on how to address the USPS’ financial predicament for years. This week the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs reached a compromise between legislators and stakeholders including bulk mailers and postal employee unions in the form of H.R. 756. The bill addresses historically thorny issues including retiree health benefits, rate increases and changes to mail delivery. A recent markup reveals how delicate that compromise is, as the committee showed remarkable agreement by Republicans and Democrats that any amendments offered could derail the effort. Before heading to the House floor, the bill will be considered by the House Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce.
NMHC/NAA will continue to work to ensure that apartment communities’ needs are front and center as Congress evaluates any changes to USPS mail delivery policy. Any reforms must not be overly burdensome to existing and future apartment communities who are responsible for meeting a host of design, legal, and resident demands.
More information on postal service reform and package delivery can be found here.
- House Committee Shines Spotlight on the Need for Postal Reform
- NMHC and NAA Raise Apartment Industry Concerns about Postal Reform
- NMHC and NAA USPS Postal Reform Letter to House Committee on Oversight and Reform
- Treasury Releases Postal Reform Recommendations
- 2018 NMHC/Kingsley Package Delivery Survey